Michael Greenman is an organizer for Move to Amend – Ohio and is involved in the Justice Action Ministry of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus. He sent the following letter to the editor of The Columbus Dispatch. It was not published.
We have to have a license and liability insurance to drive/own a car or a motorbike that can cause "grievous injury or death" when abused or mishandled, or merely because of bad luck! Guns certainly fit in that category.
A logical and reasonable requirement would be that anyone possessing a gun must be licensed and have appropriate liability insurance—and, of course, that a firearm cannot be purchased without proof of a license and insurance, as is the case with a car.
Insurance companies will see an enormous opportunity for new income streams and will insist on major background checks and other conditions before issuing gun insurance. Do you think they would issue insurance to violent felons or the mentally ill? Surely, no one can object to a new and significant opportunity for profit under the free enterprise system?
Carry a gun without insurance, and it will be confiscated until insurance is obtained. When someone is stopped while driving without insurance, is their car not impounded until proof of insurance is provided?
This is not interfering with your "right to bear arms"; it's just requiring reasonable insurance to protect/or compensate those who might be injured or killed by your negligence or criminal activity.
It will have the additional positive impact on our economy of increasing the costs of gun ownership. You'd need a rider in your insurance policy for each additional gun to ensure that you keep it in your possession and under control. This could substantially increase our national GDP.
Perhaps ammunition and larger magazines should be insured as well. More lethal ammunition purchase requires higher insurance coverage.
The Newtown Massacre families likely have no access to any compensation for the deaths of their loved ones. If the killer’s mother had been required to carry insurance on each of her firearms, she would likely 1) have had fewer firearms, 2) not had an assault weapon which would logically require higher insurance premiums, and 3) to avoid even higher premiums, would have had to demonstrate that her firearms were not available to her troubled son.
The free enterprise system as practiced by insurance companies choosing to insure firearms will create a much more regulated right to bear arms, as is specified in the sacred Second Amendment! Who can object to that?
If your response to this proposal is that guns are too dangerous to be required to be insured—what are you then saying?
In the past months, seven states have introduced legislation that would require gun owners to purchase liability insurance for their firearms. See this column by McAlister for more information.